Being younger and daydreaming in my Barbie pink room, I always tried to paint in my mind what high school would be like: hallways filled with familiar voices and vibrant faces, talking about the weekend’s gossip or latest fads, or the homecoming game at the Crimson stadium as it fills with the roar of fans cheering with school pride. But now being eighteen and lived it, the word high school just brings chills up and down my spine.
When I was going into the tenth grade, I was ready to embark on a new journey. I was a total virgin, in everything, but my friends were what you would call experienced and some even “experts” by then. I always felt like I was the oddball out of my core group of friends. I guess you could call me “the baby.”
Kayla, Sarah, Emily, and Karen all had been friends since the abc’s, 1-2-3’s, and even the eating glue days. Whether we played Red Rover, “Hot Lava” on the playground, or played football with the boys, stuck together. But when high school rolled, around I felt everyone growing up faster than me. Having sex, drinking on the weekends, skipping school, and getting heavily involved in drugs always seemed to be on the daily agenda. I tried never to judge them for trying the things they tried; I tried to respect the choices they were making as much as possible, but it was hard. I was staying younger, and they all seemed to be getting older. I would just sit back, focus on going to school, and hang out with them as much as I could. It was awkward to hang out with my own friends, who I had seen grow up doing all these ugly things. While they all did cocaine in the bathroom, I would be sitting on the living room floor watching MTV, by myself.
The one memory that has been glued to my head is when my parents were gone for the weekend, I had told my friends, and the party planning began. I wasn’t big on having parties, especially at my own house, but I wanted to get closer to my friends in every possible way. The nerves turned in my stomach as I watched bottles were being downed, kegs getting tapped, and bongs getting hit.
Sitting out on the cold concrete garage floor, trying to keep everything under control, I watched one of my best friends, Kayla doing a line of cocaine. She told me to take a line. Just as I had done every other time they had asked me to do drugs, with calmness in my voice I answered “no”.
Then the words rolled out of her mouth that I had never wanted to hear: “C’mon, Carrie you never want to have any fun-everyone is doing it.”
My fingernails dug into my sweaty palms, a feeling filled within me. “No! Get out of my house!” My heart filled with rage and rushed with confusion. I opened my house for all my friends to do what they called “fun,” and this is house I get treated by one of my best friends? Completely in shock at myself, I also see people’s eyes pierce me as if I was a total stranger. Words were foreign that were coming out of my mouth. I looked at Kayla. Her eyes seemed to fill with this “fuck you” mentality as she made her way to the door, glaring me up and down. But I couldn’t help but smile inside. I felt good.
I had never stood up for myself- not to my parents, not to my teachers, and certainly not to my friends. That’s why I now realize that I should always stand up for what I believe in even if it means I’m standing alone. Later that year I became closer with my friends than ever, except for Kayla. She never understood how I felt that night about “not following the group” and I guess she never will. And now, whenever I stand up for myself, I smile inside, and I feel good for what I believe.
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